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Ketchikan loves its dogs; it hates it when their waste is left on sidewalks and other places people walk and play — specifically ballfields.
An ordinance to increase the fine for failure to remove animal waste and allow dogs off leash at the fully fenced Weiss fields is on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly’s agenda Monday.
Essentially, the ordinance classifies the fields as a training area for dogs. It also increases the fine for leaving waste behind from $100 to $200.
The ordinance was brought forward at the request of former Assembly member George Tipton in December.
It stipulates that the off-leash permission would be in effect only when ballgames and other events aren’t scheduled. In other words, when no one is using the fields, unleashed dogs and their trainers may.
Both fields would be equipped with dog waste stations and signage warning dog owners to clean up waste deposited on the fields by their dogs.
Animal Protection issued eight citations for violation of leash laws at Weiss Field in 2017, according to borough statistics. Other dog owners were warned.
The main downside to the ordinance is if dog owners fail to do their part by cleaning up after their dogs. No one likes to, or cares, to step in or see their children step in dog feces. It’s a mess, it stinks and it’s dirty.
But, if owners comply with the ordinance, they, as local taxpayers, should be able to enjoy the fields, as well. That’s the upside.
The key in the allowance at Weiss fields will be that people and dogs co-exist without infringing on one another’s field experience.
Most likely it would be dog waste not disposed of responsibly that would cause a divide. Should the division place the topic back before the Assembly, people’s rights would undoubtedly trump dogs’.
But the dog owners should get their chance to follow this newly proposed rule.